If you are asked, what is life, what will be your response? Five years ago I wrote an article entitled: What is life and how can one live through it? In that article, I stressed the importance of having a positive mental attitude regardless of the vicissitudes that comes with it. During my graduate program in New York Law School, one of my professors once said, the only thing that that is constant in life is death and tax. According to him, we must all die one day and as long as we are alive, we must continue to pay tax. If you ask another rational mind the same question, he or she might say the only thing that is constant in life is change. The litany of response continues if you ask other schools of thought their opinion about life. In another I attended, one of my professors said, It’s good to have good grades, but it will pay you more to network while in school and after you graduate school because, in the cooperate world, the A students normally do the brain day to day admiration of office work while the B and C students who network while in school and on the outside are those that hire the A students to be the technocrats. This “A” students bring in the business in addition to calling the shots in the company. The moral behind the statement is that there’s more to success that graduating with first class or honors. This is because there’s a huge difference between being academically smart and street smart.
A few years ago, I once wrote an article Your Network Determines Your Net worth. If you will agree with me, one of the great ways of succeeding in life is by thinking out of the box. Shallow minds always think straight as opposed to seeing life from the big picture. The underlying message here underscores the importance of seeing the other side of life just like its being opined by scholars that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Having laid a good foundation for this article by way of introduction, I will like to stress that there’s more to life than attaining success, divorce, failing, death, having wealth, etc. Life has to be approached in a holistic manner. In our contemporary society, we have seen a lot of case where many people are depressed; high rate of suicide; business folding up; and families breaking up. You may add your thoughts. If you allow life experience to define us, you’ll literally be failing in life, but if you rise above the challenges life throws at you, you are not only an overcomer but a conqueror.
Great success always comes with great pains. Every true success has an underlying story. It is this story that inspires the world when they read about your success. As a rule of thumb, always appreciate your challenges and disappointment. There’s no great success without a corresponding failure. We all have failed in one activity or the other. One great mental attribute we can use overcome failure in life is by having a positive mental attitude. This is one of the most tested and trusted skill to appreciate failure and life in general.
Many people live through life with a myopic mindset. Some spend a considerable amount of energy on minor stuff and spend little or no time on major stuff. In as much as values are different, it is pertinent to note that family always rank first among work. Some people place work over family and friends forgetting that the day you give up the ghost, it won’t take less than 24hours for your employees to advertise your position for numerous of people waiting to apply. Hence, wisdom beckons on us to know that we can’t be too busy for our friends and family and there’s more to life than work.
In the academic world, grades are important but other factors such as your personal statement and performance at an interview can go a long way towards deciding if you’ll be made an offer. So there’s more to grades and resume. Your skill always plays a great role in the selection process.
One of the most powerful lessons about life and failure was rightly captured by Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to his son’s school teacher. Please permit to share this letter here
“My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy, and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love, and courage.
So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can. Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found. In school, teacher, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.
Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.
Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tell him they are wrong.
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it. Teach him to listen to everyone, but teach him also to filter all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.
This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.”
This message really captures what it means to live through life. Many people go through depression, have dark thoughts, or hurt themselves, feel hapless, lost and spend gloomy days. The truth is that failure, stress, setbacks, and exam isn’t worth your life if you truly know the meaning of life. Failures don’t define us, rather it opens our eyes to the world of possibilities. If you didn’t fail, maybe you wouldn’t have taken life and business more serious.
I don’t really know what you are going through life at the moment, just know that this too shall pass. Don’t allow the negative energy to get into your subconscious mindset, because when you do, you are more than likely going to hit the rock. So, always know that there’s more to life than any experience you may have heard.
In conclusion, life is what you make out of what it throws at you, that’s what truly defines you if you make a lemonade out of a lemon. As a matter of advice, if you fail or experience a challenge just laugh at it, work towards achieving something better and never lose hope. There is always light at the end of a tunnel.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.